We joined the 6 hour Suffolk Rivers Cruise from Ipswich to the mouth of the Orwell and Stour rivers and back on board the Thistle with its friendly crew.
A departure at high tide obviated the need to use the lock to exit Ipswich Marina. Once clear of the port sail was set and we proceeded at variable speed downstream until opposite Landguard Fort / Dovercourt before turning round for a motorised return to Ipswich, which was reached at low tide, so use of the lock was necessary.
On the way out there appeared to be little wildlife to see, but on the return with the tide out, the mudflats abounded with birdlife seeking their "tea". We sat on the same side of the boat both ways so effectively took in each bank separately. At Felixstowe a very large container ship was being seemingly unloaded and loaded at the same time.
The on board prepared catering was well judged with morning tea / coffee, a two course lunch with tea or coffee and afternoon tea or coffee with cake. A cash bar was also available.
Seating is rudimentary and not in oversupply, although everyone found somewhere to sit to eat their lunch. The toilets are modern. Needing to move about the boat and up and down steps It may not be the best of trips for those with limited mobility.
I believe the initial greeting and safety talk might be better delivered from the wheelhouse rather than in the middle of the passengers, where some are always behind the speaker.
Although the weather was pleasant enough I would suggest it is not a shorts, t-shirt and flip flops trip, rather be prepared for it to feel a little chilly if the sun goes in. As most were outside for the whole trip a little sun screen for the face may be worth bringing along. A pair of binoculars too.
Because of the length of the trip I would suggest it perhaps better for small groups than couples, unless you can find something to talk about to each other for six hours!
Overall a pleasant day out, which I would recommend to others to experience.
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